Georgia Republicans Propose Creating Majority-Black Districts in Special Session to Limit Losses

Georgia lawmakers are poised to open a special session while navigating redistricting following a federal court ruling. The special session is a part of a coordinated effort across the South after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which has cleared the way for Black voters’ influence in changes from courts.

The Republican majority in the Georgia House of Representatives has released a plan that seeks to minimize their losses while increasing the number of Black-majority voting districts. They have proposed a map that would see their losses at two seats out of their current 102-78 majority. However, they would create five additional majority-Black districts that would favor the Democrats. This is because the map would pair three sets of Democratic incumbents, ultimately resulting in Democrats losing three of those members after the 2024 elections.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Senate also proposed a map that would create two additional Black-majority voting districts, but it would retain the GOP’s current 33-23 edge in the upper chamber.

A new congressional map is still pending, which will require lawmakers to draw one new Black-majority seat. To maintain their current margin, Republicans might have to eliminate the only congressional district held by a Democrat that’s not majority-Black. It’s unclear if this would be legal, as a U.S. District Judge has prohibited Georgia from “eliminating minority opportunity districts elsewhere.”

In October, the Judge ordered Georgia to draw Black majorities in additional districts after finding that previous maps had illegally diluted Black votes. This determination followed a trial where plaintiffs argued that opportunities for Black voters had not improved despite their increased population share within the state over the previous decade.

Based on Georgia’s law, the redistricting process will undoubtedly affect the outcome of future elections. It’s clear that Republicans are in control of the process and the ultimate outcome. The maps produced by legislators would favor the Republican party, given their current majority.

The House map would mainly create additional Black-majority districts around Macon and the Atlanta suburbs. In contrast, the Senate map seeks to convert existing Republican districts into majority-Black constituencies. Democrats have expressed concerns that these maps do not meet the terms of the court order, signaling a potential legal battle ahead and creating a cloud of uncertainty around the forthcoming redistricting session.

In light of the foregoing, it’s the Judge, and not Republicans, who will have the final say on whether lawmakers have complied with the court’s order. This could potentially determine Georgia’s political landscape for years to come.


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